How to Look After Your Mental Health During Self-Isolation and Reduced Social Contact

Understandably, it is a time of concern and unease for everyone. The seemingly relentless changes to guidance and advice mean that adjustments are happening quickly and often raising more questions than they answer. Alterations to the way we live and work are underway and this might mean that you are now working from home or self-isolating in response to symptoms or government information. Finding yourself out of typical routine can be daunting so putting tools in place to smooth this transition can reduce anxiety.

Structure your Set Up

It is important that you feel equipped and resourced to complete your work at home and this can only happen if you are properly prepared. Talk to your employer about any policies that your organisation have relating to home working and identify any tools or access you will need to be able to complete your role effectively away from the office. Try to anticipate any issues you might face and consider how you would overcome these away from your workplace – this needs to include trouble-shooting for your work, but also for circumstances such as being away from others and what you will do if you feel you are struggling.

Keep Connected

Although many of us will find ourselves in isolation or in reduced social situations, that doesn’t mean that you can’t communicate in other ways. Phoning people, talking over video messages or sending messages can help to reduce seclusion and loneliness. Agree regular check in times; make sure that you have up-to-date contact information for any key people,; and use different modes of communication to keep in touch – try video messaging, group phone calls or Facebook groups so that you have a wealth of support and interaction. These should be for both work and personal connections to make sure that you have a range of support available to you. For example, you could set up virtual coffee breaks so that people can catch up remotely and stay connected.

Disconnect

Where possible, limit the time you spend watching, reading or listening to news that could cause you anxiety or distress.  Choose a specific time to check and stay informed by only using reputable news outlets, such as government and NHS websites – understanding the risks can help to make the situation less stressful. Where possible, avoid speaking to people who increase your worries and anxieties, and be honest with others about limiting information if this is something that will help you to feel calmer and less anxious. Social media platforms, such as Facebook, can be a good line of communication, but false news or speculation can do more harm than good so consider how you use these during this time.

Keep your Routine

This could prove quite tricky in some circumstances, but it’s really important that you continue healthy habits, such as exercise, a good balanced diet and keeping hydrated. You should try to stick to typical routines, such as when you go to bed and when you get up on a morning. Typical activities such as showering, having breakfast and getting dressed can help to bring some normality to the start of your day and help you to make the distinction from work to home effectively. Similarly, having a plan for your days, whether it is for remote working or during your personal time is important – consider scheduling your days to get a healthy balance of work and rest.

For work, make sure you factor in:

  • Opportunities for fresh air, even if its sitting by a window or heading into your garden for 15 minutes
  • Regular rest and toilet breaks, especially to keep up good hygiene for washing hands
  • Time to communicate and check in with your manager and work colleagues
  • Considering your own personal developments and progression – is there any additional research, activities or courses you could be completing?

For your personal time, make sure you include activities such as:

  • Reading
  • Listening to podcasts
  • Baking or batch cooking
  • Exercising – running up and down stairs, dancing to the radio and chair exercises can all be used to keep up energy and fitness levels. Don’t forget you can also go outside to exercise in your garden or other public space, as long as you keep the recommended distance from others.
  • Watching a series or film
  • Tidying and organising 

It is important that you keep talking to people around you and making your mental health a priority. Although these circumstances are unprecedented, your health and wellbeing is still, as always, a priority.

As a company, our vision is to simply see people flourishing in the workplace (whether home or office-based) and our mission is to help clients to support and develop good psychological health in their teams. That is because we believe flourishing people create thriving organisations. 

We do this by providing specialist training and services to support mental health, resilience and wellbeing in the workplace and online.

Whether you are looking for face-to-face training, online learning or a blend of the two, we can tailor training on topics such as resilience, mental health and other developmental areas, perfectly suited to your organisation and team. 

Resilient People      

www.resilientpeople.co.uk                 [email protected]

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A Dose of Calm: A Note from our Director

When the unexpected happens ………. How to maintain positive Mental Health during challenging times

30.03.2020

When the unexpected happens ………. How to maintain positive Mental Health during challenging times

Remote Reassurance: Caring for your Employees’ Mental Wellbeing During Self-isolation and Remote Working

30.03.2020

Remote Reassurance: Caring for your Employees’ Mental Wellbeing During Self-isolation and Remote Working

SPOTLIGHT ON… Looking After Your Own Mental Health

Being able to talk to a loved one, friend or colleague about their mental health is really important, but make sure you don’t forget about self-care and looking after your own mental health and wellbeing too! Read our top tips below for how to look after your own wellbeing:

1.    Keep active

Physical fitness has long been on people’s agendas, but you may not realise that as well as the physical benefits to exercise, it also offers benefits to your mind and mental health as well. You might keep active by joining the gym, but you could also enjoy a bike ride, sports activity or walks – all of these would equally contribute to physical and mental fitness.

 2.    Eat well

Food and mood go hand in hand so make sure you are choosing foods that give you energy, are good for you and don’t rely on sugar bursts to boost you – because then you will experience a dip in energy and feelings of fatigue. Regular snacks or food will keep you fuelled throughout the day and give you energy to take on whatever life throws at you.

3.    Ask for help

As much as we might not want to admit it, we can’t always handle everything on our own. Whether this is balancing our time, sharing our feelings or letting someone with more experience or knowledge guide us, reaching out and communicating with people can help to relieve pressure. Don’t be afraid to trust the people around you to help you.

4.    Take a break

A busy life can catch up with us and it is important to learn to recognise the signs and symptoms that tell you that your body is ready for a rest, or preferably know when to take a break to prevent our body and mind getting to a point where it is being negatively impacted by stress. Make sure you schedule in some down-time to rest and recharge.

5.    Do something you’re good at

Being successful and accomplishing our goals give us a ‘feel-good’ boost. Choosing an activity that you enjoy and can be successful at can help to balance out negative feelings if you have not been successful in other aspects of your week. It is also chance to do something that you enjoy and that is an essential ingredient for good mental health.

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A Dose of Calm: A Note from our Director

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When the unexpected happens ………. How to maintain positive Mental Health during challenging times

Remote Reassurance: Caring for your Employees’ Mental Wellbeing During Self-isolation and Remote Working

30.03.2020

Remote Reassurance: Caring for your Employees’ Mental Wellbeing During Self-isolation and Remote Working

Top Tips For Supporting Someone on Your Team with Mental Ill Health

Did you know that mental health problems affect one in four people? When people experience a mental health condition, they may feel isolated, ashamed and worthless. They may feel that they have no one to talk to and no one to turn to. Mental health is something that we all have and, just like physical fitness, it can be good or poor. So why is it such a taboo to talk about it?

Mental health conditions are something that can affect anyone at any time. Being able to talk to people about mental health can make a significant different.

Top Tips To Support Others in the Workplace

It can be daunting when someone is returning to work after an absence because of mental ill health. They might feel unsure of how people will treat them or they may be nervous about returning to work. As their colleague, you can play a part in welcoming them back.

1.    Check in
Keep a kind eye on them and see how they are doing throughout the day. Just a friendly ‘hello’ at lunch time or a ‘how are you getting on?’ during the day can give them the opportunity to ask for help if they need it or reassure them that they aren’t alone.

2.    Listen and don’t judge
They might want to talk about how they are feeling or they might share their experience with you. That’s ok and letting them talk can be all the outlet they need. Active non-judgemental listening is really important so give them time to speak without jumping in, stop what you are doing so they know they have your full attention and ask questions to prompt them if needed.

3.    Treat them in the same way
Coming back to work might be a way for them to experience some normality so being the same friendly colleague is just what they need. There is no need to be wary or fearful of someone because of their mental ill health. They are still the same person.

4.    Ask twice
It’s easy to just reply ‘I’m fine, thanks’ when we are asked how we are and often people will automatically say this even if they aren’t feeling 100%. Asking twice can give the person the opportunity to be honest about how they feeling.

5.    Don’t forget little gestures can have a big impact.
Making them a cup of tea; carrying something for them; asking them to join you for lunch; these small actions can make such a big difference to someone who might be feeling a little vulnerable and overwhelmed. Don’t underestimate the difference you can make to someone by including them and showing that you’ve thought of them.

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A Dose of Calm: A Note from our Director

When the unexpected happens ………. How to maintain positive Mental Health during challenging times

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When the unexpected happens ………. How to maintain positive Mental Health during challenging times

Remote Reassurance: Caring for your Employees’ Mental Wellbeing During Self-isolation and Remote Working

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Remote Reassurance: Caring for your Employees’ Mental Wellbeing During Self-isolation and Remote Working

Embrace JOMO (the Joy of Missing Out)

Thanks to social media, we are now more connected than ever, yet this can actually create feelings of distance and disconnection. Being able to continuously check out where others are checking in, see the latest fads and favourites, and peer at ‘picture-perfect’ poses, the business and bustle of others can make us question if we too should be going out and joining in.

Escaping this ‘must-do’ mentality is essential to improving our mental health and wellbeing. Embracing JOMO (or ‘The Joy of Missing Out’) can be a positive step in reducing the feeling that you are obligated to take part and fit in, and this can reduce the additional pressure and stress in a number of different ways, including mentally, financially and physically. The emphasis on ‘JOMO’ is not that you are missing out, but that you have the choice to take a step back when you need to, to miss out on the ‘right things’ and giving you time to regroup, recharge and relax.

 

EMBRACING JOMO

1. START A DIGITAL DETOX

How often is your phone the first thing that you reach for when you wake up? How about sitting with your phone right next to you while you watch TV? Are you guilty of looking at your phone right before you go to sleep? Our phones, and by extension our tablets and other similar technologies, have become an essential part of our lives. Of course, they can help to minimise stress by keeping us organised, in contact and in the know. But their presence can also be a damaging distraction to our lives. Giving yourself time away from your phone is an important part of taking control of your wellbeing. Studies show that the blue light from your phone’s screen stimulates the brain so if you are using your phone as a tool to help you sleep, this could actually be having the reverse reaction. Downing your devices an hour before bedtime can help your body switch off and relax properly for a good night’s sleep. Ban phones at the dinner table so that you can focus on the people around you and use the time to catch up properly instead of being distracted by timelines and memes. Give yourself time to properly see and engage with the world around you rather than the electronic one in your hand.

2. SLOW DOWN

Life can feel like a treadmill of hustle and bustle. Often we find ourselves flitting from one activity to another, our days seeming to pass in a blur of work, appointments and commitments. Reducing the rush in our lives can give us time to recognise the things that are important to us, to invest and develop relationships with people we care about, and to reward ourselves for our hard work and commitment. In such a fast-paced world, think about the last time you sat down and actually did nothing. When did you go for a walk without having a reason or a time to adhere to? Scheduling time so that you have time to stop and appreciate the world around you is an essential part of JOMO – step out of the chaos into the calm when you need to.

3. SAY NO!

Often, we can be inundated with requests and invitations, and this can mean that we don’t have the time to stop and rest, even though sometimes we know that is what we should be doing. Being able to recognise when we need to recharge is essential. If your mobile phone was low in charge, you would either reduce your use of it to try to keep the battery going for a little longer until you could find a charger or you would stop using it immediately, plug it in and let it replenish with energy. Think about your body in the same way. Persistently pushing yourself physically and mentally with no time to rest will mean that you could eventually burn out. At the very least, it may mean that you are not able to work as efficiently as you usually would.

4. SCHEDULE ACTIVITIES YOU ENJOY

We are not always able to only do things that we want to. Different activities that make up our lives may not always be at the top of our list, but they fulfil an obligation or necessity. Planning things for you to do that brings joy means that you have a balance within your life and creates essential rewards for you completing the other activities. For example, you might dislike supermarket shopping, but obviously, it is an crucial chore meaning that you have the food and supplies needed to live. You could balance this activity by planning in some time afterwards to do something you do enjoy, such as putting your feet up and reading for a while. If your schedule is packed out, make sure you diarise time to complete a hobby, spend time with someone who makes you smile or just focus on some you-time to get that balance back.

 

 

GIVE YOURSELF PERMISSION TO MISS OUT AND DISCOVER THE THINGS YOU WERE ACTUALLY MISSING OUT ON ALL ALONG.

As a company, our vision is to simply see people flourishing in the workplace and our mission is to help clients to support and develop good psychological health in their teams. That is because we believe flourishing people create thriving organisations. 

We do this by providing specialist training and services to support mental health, resilience and wellbeing in the workplace.

Whether you are looking for face-to-face training, online learning or a blend of the two, we can tailor training on topics such as resilience, mental health and other developmental areas, perfectly suited to your organisation and team.  

Resilient People       

www.resilientpeople.co.uk         [email protected]       01977 210220

A Dose of Calm: A Note from our Director

30.03.2020

A Dose of Calm: A Note from our Director

When the unexpected happens ………. How to maintain positive Mental Health during challenging times

30.03.2020

When the unexpected happens ………. How to maintain positive Mental Health during challenging times

Remote Reassurance: Caring for your Employees’ Mental Wellbeing During Self-isolation and Remote Working

30.03.2020

Remote Reassurance: Caring for your Employees’ Mental Wellbeing During Self-isolation and Remote Working

(S)elf Care This Christmas

Christmas can be a chaotic and costly time of year. Here’s three ways to make sure your health is your wealth this Christmas time:

 

It’s About Presence, Not Presents

Giving gifts is part of the festive period, but the priority needs to be on you being there to enjoy spending time with family, making happy memories and being fit and well. Taking time out from work is especially important at this time of year so make the most of the time off, plan in some nights out and days in, catch up with friends and family and enjoy the gift of time this Christmas.

Spend Time, Not Money

This time of year can be costly on your wallet, but even an hour of your time is much more valuable than a wrapped gift. Seeing loved ones, especially if work means that you don’t get to do this as much as you would like, is a great use of your time for both your mental health and your relationships. A great idea for gifts for people is the opportunity to spend time together so think about booking tickets for something to do with others or just planning some time into your calendar over the year for some family time.

The Gift of Self-Care

Don’t forget yourself this year in amongst the gifts and events for other people. Switching off and getting some well-earned rest is a wonderful present for yourself to make sure you have time to catch up, recuperate and feel revitalised for the New Year.

A Dose of Calm: A Note from our Director

30.03.2020

A Dose of Calm: A Note from our Director

When the unexpected happens ………. How to maintain positive Mental Health during challenging times

30.03.2020

When the unexpected happens ………. How to maintain positive Mental Health during challenging times

Remote Reassurance: Caring for your Employees’ Mental Wellbeing During Self-isolation and Remote Working

30.03.2020

Remote Reassurance: Caring for your Employees’ Mental Wellbeing During Self-isolation and Remote Working

How to Support Someone with Their Mental Health at Work

Mental Health in the workplace is a hot topic – and why not when research shows that one in four of us will experience a mental health problem this year. That means that it is more than likely that you work with someone with a mental health condition right now.

The Mental Health Foundation has recently completed research that suggests that on average we say “I’m fine” when someone asks us how we are fourteen times per week, but actually we only mean it 19% of the time! Knowing our colleagues can be hard when we have an ever-growing list of priorities to work through, but as we spend the majority of our week with them, why not make an effort to get to know who you work with? Social relationships are essential for promoting wellbeing so what can you do to support your workmates? See our handy help sheet to give you some tips

WHERE AND WHEN

If you want to offer support to a colleague who seems to be struggling, make sure it is not at a time that is very busy or time-limited, or in a place that doesn’t afford any privacy. Your colleague needs to feel comfortable to share their emotions.

ENCOURAGE THEM TO SEEK SUPPORT

Gently ask if they have considered seeking support or if they have someone they can trust to talk to. You could even offer to go to an appointment with them. Seeking help from Employee Assistance Programmes or their GP can offer them specialist support to give them tools to support their feelings.

LISTEN

Asking open-ended questions such as ‘How did that make you feel?’ instead of ‘Did that make you feel low?’ and really giving your work colleague chance to talk is one of the most helpful things you can do. Having someone listen to their concerns can be a positive step in the right direction to seeking help or feeling a little bit more in control. You don’t need to give solutions – just showing understanding and that you care speaks volumes about the support that they have even if they might not have realised it before.

LEAVE YOUR DOOR OPEN

Your colleague might not feel able to open up right away, but letting them know you are there for them and that your door is open (figuratively or literally depending on where you work) shows that you are there to support when they are ready – and that can make such a difference to someone who might feel alone.

BE KIND

Especially to those that might be showing signs of stress and poor mental health, but don’t forget that anyone at any time can be fighting a battle that we can’t see. Taking the time to say hello to people, making a cup of tea for someone or asking how someone’s weekend has been only takes a minute, but it can make a lot of difference to someone who may be struggling.

ALLEVIATE SOME OF THE STRESS

You may be able to help a colleague by doing a favour or small job for them. This doesn’t mean taking on their workload and adding additional stress to your own: something simple like running a small errand for them or washing up a tea cup are all little things that can make a big difference.

IF THERE IS IMMEDIATE DANGER, SEEK HELP

You don’t need to have all the answers. If you feel like someone has the potential to cause harm to themselves or if their emotions and feelings are threatening to overwhelm them, you can seek support from the Samaritans, their GP, a family member or your employer (either line manager or HR).

NON-JUDGEMENTAL

People with poor mental health can often feel like the world is a critical and disapproving place. They may feel vulnerable and self-conscious about how they are feeling. Listening and being neutral in your opinions and answers can help your colleague to share and explore their feelings in a non-threatening way and without worry. They may not always make the best decisions for themselves, but you can always encourage them to make sure they are looking after themselves such as checking they have taken some time to have a break, grab a drink and off load if they need to without the worry of judgement.

GIVE THEM SPACE FROM THEIR WORRIES

Being there for someone and remembering to ask how an appointment went or how they are doing is a vital part of supporting someone. However, it is important to give them space to work through their emotions, including giving them time away from thinking about them. Talking about other light-hearted topics can be a useful tonic and a way to take their mind off some of their worries.

Resilient People are here to help support your organisation through training and wellbeing services to build positive mental health in the workplace all year round. Our ‘RESPOND’ course has been developed especially for managers to give them confidence and knowledge in supporting their teams. This includes how to spot signs and symptoms, how to have a conversation with a member of their team and how to build resilience for challenge and change.

We have a range of services to support mental health and wellbeing in your organisation. Please get in touch for more information: [email protected] or 01977 210220

 

A Dose of Calm: A Note from our Director

30.03.2020

A Dose of Calm: A Note from our Director

When the unexpected happens ………. How to maintain positive Mental Health during challenging times

30.03.2020

When the unexpected happens ………. How to maintain positive Mental Health during challenging times

Remote Reassurance: Caring for your Employees’ Mental Wellbeing During Self-isolation and Remote Working

30.03.2020

Remote Reassurance: Caring for your Employees’ Mental Wellbeing During Self-isolation and Remote Working

The Importance of Sleep in building Resilience

One in three Britons suffer greatly from inadequate sleep. With things such as; stress, phones/IT and taking work home being the most common contributing factors.

However, the cost of all those sleepless nights is more than just bad moods and a lack of focus – I’m not talking about the potential pile of online shopping bills that mount up either! Regular poor sleep puts you at risk of serious medical conditions including obesity, heart disease and diabetes – Which can potentially shorten your life expectancy. People take sleep for granted but in reality a good solid night’s sleep is essential for a long and healthy life.

Most of us need around 8 hours of good quality sleep a night to function properly – but some need more and some less. What matters is that you find out how much sleep you need and then try to achieve it. In order to do this, make it a general rule that if you wake up tired and snappy and find yourself wanting to swap the keyboard for a pillow by lunch time, its time to listen to your body and give it what it needs even if that means missing your favourite nighttime programme.

Take a moment to step back and really think about your lifestyle. Answer this question honestly – do you check your smartphone for messages before you even get out of bed?? If so this means we are starting this whirlwind that is life from the second we open our eyes. We put on the radio or television to be given the news as it happens and when it happens, we check our emails constantly throughout the day; we sit at our computers and/or watch television late into the evening. It barely stops, with all these things around us it is no wonder we find it difficult to switch off and wind down, and so it is clear to see why many of us are having trouble sleeping.

Here are some simple tips you can do in order to help you wind down before tucking in:

  • Having a warm (not hot) bath can help your body reach a temperature that is ideal for rest.
  • Reading a book or listening to music instead of watching the television or trawling through pages of social media will help to relax your mind by distracting it.
  • Make your bedroom a relaxing place. The bedroom needs to be dark, quiet, tidy, smell fresh and be kept at a temperature of between 18c and 24c. Have a lamp with a low watt bulb at the side of the bed for reading.
  • Do not go to bed too hungry or too full. Try to eat something light before bed to keep the pangs of hunger at bay until morning.
  • What you drink before bed is also an important factor. Try not to drink anything with high amounts of caffeine; so if you normally enjoy a warm drink before bed, try a Horlicks or a hot chocolate rather than a coffee or a tea. However try not to drink just before turning in as this could lead to disrupted sleep due to waking in the night to empty your bladder.
  • Include physical activity in your daily routine. Regular physical activity can help you sleep better. Be careful though, timing is everything when it comes to exercise – too close to bedtime and it could make you too energised to fall asleep.
  • Consider healthy ways to manage stress. Start with something as simple as getting yourself organised, set your priorities and delegate tasks that can be delegated. Don’t forget that you need to take a break too so go out for a walk or share a coffee with a friend. Before you shut your eyes for the night make a list of all the things that are on your mind and then set it aside for tomorrow – doing this physically will put it out of your mind so that you are ready for sleep.

When it comes to changing your lifestyle in order to enhance your wellbeing we understand that sleep is one of the most difficult things to tackle as some people will quite rightly say you can’t force yourself to sleep. However if you take on board the above tips, which are just common sense things to do you will give yourself the best possible chance of getting a good night sleep. We wish you sweet dreams Zzz…

A Dose of Calm: A Note from our Director

30.03.2020

A Dose of Calm: A Note from our Director

When the unexpected happens ………. How to maintain positive Mental Health during challenging times

30.03.2020

When the unexpected happens ………. How to maintain positive Mental Health during challenging times

Remote Reassurance: Caring for your Employees’ Mental Wellbeing During Self-isolation and Remote Working

30.03.2020

Remote Reassurance: Caring for your Employees’ Mental Wellbeing During Self-isolation and Remote Working